Chennai, October, 2018: After being ravaged by the worst floods which it has seen in over a century, Kerala was combating an outbreak of communicable diseases and viral infections. When the threat of water-borne diseases (cholera, hepatitis) and vector-borne diseases (malaria, dengue, chikungunya) were large, additionally the state also witnessed paucity of safe drinking water, which lead to various medical issues including diarrhoea, typhoid and leptospirosis. In this backdrop, Fortis CSR Foundation under its Project SEWA initiative sent two batches of SEWA team for medical relief operation in order to address the immediate health needs of the people, , positively impacting a total of 2774 beneficiaries in Wayanad and Alappuzha in the state. The SEWA teams comprised doctors, nurses, counsellors, administrators and housekeeping staff (7 doctors, 8 nurses, 2 administrators, 1 counsellor and 3 from housekeeping).
Cooperation from Additional Resident commissioner, Kerala house, Delhi – Mr. Puneet Kumar and team, helped in planning the route map for medical relief operation along with District Medical officers of Wayand and Alappuzha. Project SEWA served affected people in various health camp and relief centres in Kerala, managing the outpatient departments and causalities of the taluq hospitals.Various medical cases were treated post disaster in the affected areas. More commonly seen medical problems among the population were: upper respiratory tract infection, lower respiratory tract infections, skin infections, DM &hypertension, Viral fever. Accordingly, treatment was provided to the patients. Treatment was also provided for dog bites, rat bites, acute febrile illness, Over 210 children were educated on the importance of hand hygiene, 600 beneficiaries were made aware of how they could maintain personal hygiene, safe drinking water was provided to patients and attendants and 45 nursing and para-clinical staff were trained on infection control. Out of the 2774 lives touched, 1919 people availed treatment and 855 underwent awareness sessions. Project SEWA through its NGO Partner Uday Foundation sent tons of relief material to people affected by disaster.
Speaking on the initiative, Dr. Priya Goutham said,“As a healthcare service delivery organization, it is our responsibility to reach out to those in need. We undertook relief operations under Project SEWA because we have the medical expertise to provide support in disaster situations Lack of access to basic medical services and treatment were some of the challenges during that time. Additionally, guidance and counselling support was also critical for all who were displaced and in a state of shock because of the magnitude of this sudden disaster rarely seen in India before in recent decades. Our SEWA team was able to reach out to many in need when Kerala was affected by flood.”
In Wayanad district, a team of eight members carried out relief operations from 27 August to 1 September. The areas covered were Kallumottamkunnu St. Colony, Cheriyam Kolli, Kalluvettumthazha, Kalor Anganwadi, Pozhuthana PHC, Peringoda Anganwadi, Kuttiyamval colony, Peringettukunnu & Arikalam, Arunamala Tribal Camp and Mepadi. In Alappuzha, a team of 13 members worked from 17 September to 23 September in Mavelikkara Taluq Hospital, Harippad Taluq Hospital, Court Junction Area, Karikadu Camp and Kainakari Camp.